Former Iraqi president Saddam Hussein told his judges Wednesday that he ordered the trial of Shiites who were later executed in the 1980s and that he ordered the confiscation of their lands, but insisted that doing so was not a crime.
"Where is the crime?" Saddam asked the court. "Is referring a defendant who opened fire at a head of state, no matter what his name is, a crime?"
Saddam and seven co-defendants are on trial for ordering the executions of 148 Shiites, as well as the arrest and torture of others, following a July 8, 1982 attempt to kill Saddam in the town of Dujail.
According to Saddam, his co-defendants should be released and that he alone should be tried since he was the president and they were following his orders. "A head of state is here. Try him and let the others go their way," he said, according to the AP.
"If there is a law issued by Revolutionary Command Council that calls for confiscating land, then try the chairman of the Revolutionary Command Council. He is present," said Saddam who was the head of the Council.
After Saddam's comments, chief judge Raouf Abdel-Rahman adjourned the session until March 12.
Earlier Wednesday the trial commenced with all the defense lawyers attending the session, except Saddam's lead lawyer Khalil al-Dulaimi.